Marketing may look different for every business. It can depend on your target audience, industry, and how your business is run. For instance, if you primarily do business out of a brick-and-mortar store, your marketing may look very different from an online shop.
But for all those differences, there are a few universal pillars that make for a good marketing plan. Without them, you may miss the mark on the target audience you draw in and waste your marketing budget. What are those pillars? They’re the four principles of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.
When you begin marketing a product, it’s essential to understand the product. If you are the inventor of the product, this might be easily done, but you still need to think about your product from a marketing perspective. Forget the schematics and the finer details. Who is this product for? What problem does it solve? What benefits does your product have that make it stand out?
However, inventors and entrepreneurs are often not themselves the marketers. You may have to create a pitch for investors, but this is different from creating a marketing plan for customers. If you are instead part of a marketing team, you may have to familiarize yourself with the product fully. Ask questions, consider who might want this product and why.
The price of your product does not exist within a vacuum. If you overprice your product, consumers will likely look to your less expensive competitors. Conversely, if you price your product too low, you might get plenty of purchases, but could find yourself swallowed in supply costs.
These are the two elements you’ll want to consider when figuring out a price and marketing that price. The first is your own costs. How much do you have to pay for the supplies to create that product? How much time and manpower is needed to create that product? Ideally, you want to be able to make a profit, so your price should allow you to justify the expenses of production plus additional revenue.
You also need to consider the value of your product — both real and perceived. What does your product offer that justifies the cost? You want to pitch this product as an investment for your customers, rather than simply a cost; the cost will have a value that will make it well worth it. But that also means your marketing plan needs to show the value of your product effectively. If your perceived value by the market is less than the actual value, your marketing campaign will need to correct that. Take a look at other similar products on the market. How are they priced and how does your product differ from them?
Your marketing needs to be able to reach the right audience if it’s going to be effective. This could be both online or in physical locations, and that’s part of what you need to consider with place. Your marketing efforts should go where your customers are, whether online or offline.
If your business is primarily operated in a brick-and-mortar store, you will need to put a considerable amount of marketing efforts into marketing that physical location. Online and on social media, that could mean working on your local SEO. List your business in local directories, have a comprehensive Google My Business profile and make sure your contact information and address are easy to find. Flyers for special promotions throughout your community or ads in local papers that are still read or on local websites could also help.
If your business is conducted primarily or solely online — as is increasingly the case — you will need to think of place differently. What is your place digitally? It’s your website, most likely. Your marketing efforts should still be used to drive people to your storefront, but in this case, that storefront is your online store. You should also consider where your customers are online. What marketing efforts can you make that will reach them where they are?
So you know your product, your price, and the places that you will need to market your product. Now it’s just a matter of how to promote it. Do some research into your target audience and the types of promotions that they respond best to.
Take a look at your brand and the voice you’ve already created. Is it fun and bright or polished and professional? Your promotions should fit that voice.
You can promote through a number of different avenues: social media, guest blog posts, paid ads, and of course, word of mouth. Try to use a few different mediums: written promotions, images, videos, social media posts, or a combination of different mediums. The more dynamic your promotion, the more chances you’ll have of it reaching the right people. However, you’ll still want to keep your brand messaging consistent throughout promotions.